I want to be frank (no surprise to regular readers). People do not want to believe in British Israelism (BI) because they do not want to believe in the power and might of of a personally involved God. Furthermore, they do not believe in a God Who keeps His promises. Instead, they try to pawn off a god (lowercased ‘g’) who is distant, disinterested and leaves them alone in their sins. Let a disaster occur, the cries go out to God. Let things be pleasant, and they want God to sit on a shelf and let them about their daily lives.
However, people reject BI out of hand and without studying, much in the same way they reject the notion that human beings do not have an immortal soul, there’s no eternally burning hell fire, that the resurrected saints will live and rule on the earth, etc. They don’t want to study it, they don’t want to know it, and so they will remain willfully ignorant.
I am reminded of the verse:
4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: (2 Peter 3:4-5, King James Version)
There is an interesting parallel I was reading about this morning.
Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (July 1, 1818 – August 13, 1865; also Ignac Semmelweis, born Semmelweis Ignác Fülöp), … was a Hungarian physician described as the "savior of mothers", who discovered by 1847 that the incidence of puerperal fever could be drastically cut by use of hand washing standards in obstetrical clinics.
~ Ignaz Semmelweis. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_Semmelweis
Seth Godin commented about Semmelweis on his blog:
It took Ignaz Semmelweis more than twenty years (he died before it happened, actually) to persuade doctors that washing their hands could save the lives of mothers giving birth. He had the data, he had the proof, but that wasn’t enough to change minds [emphasis mine].
~ Godin, Seth. (4 November 2009). When data and decisions collide. Message posted to http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/11/when-data-and-decisions-collide.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2Fsethsmainblog+%28Seth%27s+Blog%29.
Most who dismiss BI do not want to study or understand it. They also are willfully ignorant of the true Gospel. That shouldn’t be a huge surprise, seeing as rejecting one truth of God usually leads to rejecting other truths, many times to the point where you wind up with an entirely different message altogether.
Is it even possible to understand the true Gospel while rejecting BI? Doubtful. The true Gospel, the really “good news” (which is what “gospel” means), is that Christ will come and setup His Kingdom on the earth. It is future. It is forward-looking. It is prophecy. And, the key to prophecy is the identity of Israel in the Bible.
In spite of the promises God made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel, people refuse to believe that God can and did carry through on His many promises to Israel. In spite of the trail of Dan, and the writings of the Apostles, many would believe either that all of Israel returned after the fall of Babylon or that God somehow lost track of their movements.
Promises, which were not for the time in which they were uttered, such as:
1And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. (Genesis 49:1, King James Version)
14And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days. (Numbers 24:14, King James Version)
30When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (Deuteronomy 4:30, King James Version)
29For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. (Deuteronomy 31:29, King James Version)
20The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. (Jeremiah 23:20, King James Version)
14Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. (Daniel 10:14, King James Version) [cf Da 12:1]
Space doesn’t allow for a full-blown treatise of this subject on a blog, but there are some excellent resources in books and booklets that already cover the evidence for BI:
Judah’s Sceptre and Joseph’s Birthright, by JH Allen
The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W Armstrong (much material taken from JH Allen, but HWA presented it from a COG perspective)
The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy, by United Church of God
America and Britain in Prophecy, by Raymond F McNair (one of the leading COG scholars in this area)
Also, the Giving and Sharing COG-affilated site has a page of resources on Israel? Its Identity and Prophetic Significance.
The point is that the material is out there to study and digest. However, many will not even click on the links and read the material.
What’s the result? The result is a god who either cannot or will not keep his promises. There are other effects of this, however:
The Bible becomes a dead book. When you do away with about 1/4th of it because “it has been fulfilled” then it just becomes another ancient text that isn’t relevant for today. However, about 80 – 90% of prophecy has not yet been fufilled. It is in every way a very relevant book for our time. In fact, much of it was written precisely for the time we are in.
It makes God small. If you believe the outstanding promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all fulfilled through ancient Israel, then God is incapable of outdoing worldly empires such as Egypt, Babylon and Assyria, let alone Greece and Rome.
It makes God a liar because many of the prophecies, as already shown, were for the “latter” and “last” days.
It makes the Book of Ezekiel mostly irrelevant. Ezekiel was to be a voice, not just to the Jews only, but the entire “children of Israel” (Eze 2:3). The northern kingdom had already been taken captive by Assyria around 722 BC. Ezekiel was a prophet during the fall of Judah, the southern kingdom, around 586 BC. Therefore, God gave him an impossible mission to prophesy to a people, 10/12ths of which are no longer around!
It makes Great Britain and especially the United States an enigma in Bible prophecy. Would such powerful nations with ties to the Holy Land be neglected in Bible prophecy? Did God “forget” to mention them? I call it an “enigma” on purpose. Would God really require much speculation about the identity of the US in order to identify it? Would it be such a great riddle requiring convoluted interpretations? Or, could it just be that God has “hidden” modern Israel’s identity in plain sight all along?
It distances Christianity from its true beginnings. It minimizes what it means to be grafted onto the vine of Israel (S. Ro 11). It distances believers from Judaism, thus allowing them to not feel guilty of avoiding “Judaizing”. It minimizes the role of the Law in a believer’s life.
It allows people to continue in their sins. After all, if the prophecies about God’s punishment of Israel are true, and if they are the modern descendants of Israel, then that might mean they have to make changes in their lives.
All of the above allow critics of the Bible to scoff even more. After all, if God cannot or will not keep His promises, or if He only did it on a small scale, or if the Bible really is irrelevant and obsolete after all, then why wouldn’t a skeptic scoff? However, if God is powerful enough to bring about His will, even in spite of granting the ability of others to make their own choices, then He might be a powerful enough Being to worship and learn more about!
Satan would love nothing more than to diminish God in your eyes. Turning His promises and His word into archaic, obsolete and irrelevant hot air is Satan’s goal.
However, the ability of God to sift people even through the nations and not lose “the least grain” (Am 9:9) shows an intelligence, a power and a might that we have trouble even understanding.
There's indeed a lot to consider here — but some of it compels a response.
They don’t want to study it, they don’t want to know it, and so they will remain willfully ignorant.
Could it be that Christians are focusing on what the Bible calls the main point?
"For I resolved to know nothing when I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." – I Cor. 2:2.
This follows a chapter in which Paul mentions "the message of the cross" (1:18), and a Savior which can call "both Jews and Greeks" (1:24) — implying Gentiles.
Christ will come and setup His Kingdom on the earth. It is future. It is forward-looking. It is prophecy. And, the key to prophecy is the identity of Israel in the Bible.
Amen to most of that — but will Jesus really require a history/social studies "prophecy quiz" to be part of His Kingdom?
I'm persuaded that when the judgment comes, we will not face a "final exam" asking where Naphtali and Asher were in 2009. It won't ultimately be about what we know, but Who we know. As in Acts 4:12. As in knowing God, and walking in the light of His Son.
@Richard: You are correct that we won't be given exams about the current location of Naphtali, etc. However, a question that may be asked is whether or not understanding of Bible prophecy was undertaken as well as its real purpose.
"Could it be that Christians are focusing on what the Bible calls the main point?"
Not sure that they are, actually. You quoted Paul, who wanted them to know Christ. Do they even know the real Christ and what He stood for? Do they understand what's to come and why? Do they have a real hope or have they let themselves be deceived? Have they taken any initiative to understand God and His ways? Better yet, did they put any of those things into practice? Remember, they cannot practice what they do not know.
I am going to repeat above what I said: "Is it even possible to understand the true Gospel while rejecting BI? Doubtful." I was careful to not say "impossible", as it IS possible. It is just unlikely.
Finally, I am reminded of Mt 24:37-39. Consider the many warnings given to people, that Noah apparently preached for 120 years while building the ark, that people did not believe the warning then, and they won't believe it now.
I would even go as far as to question if the Great Tribulation would occur if modern Israel actually repented and quit her sinful ways for good. Something to consider, no?